Government aims to improve road safety

| 19/05/2010

(CNS): Government officials are to begin looking at reducing speed limits and introducing pedestrian crossings in an effort to make the West Bay Road safer. According to a government press release the Minister for Works Juliana O’Connor-Connolly has asked the Traffic Advisory Panel (TAP) to review and recommend measures that will make the road safer. Panellist and NRA Director Brian Tomlinson said the committee will consider both long- and short-term measures that may slow traffic but will improve the safety of pedestrians and drivers.

 
One of the proposals under consideration will be to reduce the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph, between Eastern Avenue and 100 yards north of Raleigh Quay/Tiki Beach o the WestBay road, a proposal that has been raised by the wider public for sometime.
 
Tomlinson said the panel will also look at building a roundabout at the intersection of Raleigh Quay and West Bay Road, near the Old Holiday Inn and the NewTikiBeach area in order to encourage motorists to use Esterley Tibbetts Highway.
 
The roads boss indicated that pedestrian crossings would also be established in high traffic areas, such as the Strand Shopping Plaza, as well as overhead flashing yellow lights, which can be activated by pedestrians to allow them to safely cross the road.
 
Vegetation around the road sides will also be trimmed to ensure a clear line of sight, allowing drivers to see pedestrians on the sidewalk as well as improvements to lighting.
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Tomlinson noted that some of the improvements may slow traffic, but he said they will increase pedestrian safety, especially along the West Bay Road.
 
“All the agencies involved in TAP are committed to the safe movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic on our roads; we will continue to work towards improvements,” Tomlinson said.
 
TAP is a longstanding panel comprising representatives from the Ministry of District Administration, Works and Gender Affairs; the National Roads Authority (NRA); and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS). Members are charged with introducing traffic improvements in the CaymanIslands.
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  1. Right ya so says:

    I wonder if Baines ever reads these comments!? I would hope he does and takes his officers to task for setting such a bad example…..

     

  2. Anon says:

    I find it interesting that most comments seem to indicate that pedestrians need to be reminded to look the "correct" way. When my parents instructed me on how to cross the road (many years ago) I was instructed to look BOTH ways. It did not matter what country I was in. To this day I still do. So too have I instructed my chid. If a sign only instructs a pedestrian to look "right", there is nothing to say that some terrible driver will not hit them from the other direction because they swerved across the road. Also what happens when they get to the middle of the road? All pedestrians simply need to remember they need to look both ways, just like their parent taught them.

    Occasional speed bumps in the centre lane will remove the overtaking issue. Some additional mini-roundabouts would also assist. So would extending the 4 lanes on the bypass from the Century 21 to Butterfield roundabouts, so that traffic does not bottleneck.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The problem with westbay road is not the speed limit it is the light situation on the roads to many dark spots on westbay road, I wonder if anybody ever get hit down on that road in the day????. If we change the limits to 25 or 30 we will have problem in the future with traffic as we did some years ago before the bypass came in. We will now have people going as low as 5 -10 mile an hour before they reach the first bypass turn off, My case in point look what happen going to westbay in the evening after the last turnoff from the bypass..

  4. Anonymous says:

    The 2 issues are: how do we gently remind foreign pedestrians to look in the correct direction immediately before they step off the curb? 

    And: how do we break the traffic in the most efficient way to allow pedestrians to cross safely when it’s too busy to jaywalk.    

  5. Anonymous says:

    With a stencil and a few cans of spray paint, hotels/restaurants could spray "LOOK RIGHT" reminders on the road at the logical pedestrian j-walk/short cut crossings.  Total cost, probably less than $50.  Camana Bay’s Blvd has these and they actually seem to work.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    The problem is not the speed limit on the West Bay Road the problem is these people that feels like they can run across these roads at any time of the day or night for example the Ritz & Hyatt has provide Bridges or walking path above the streets  for people to use and do they use them  NO some of  these people feel that becasue we are a small caribbean country they can do these thing and I bet you any thing these same people wouldnt try crossing  there own streets where they come from so Ms. Julie before you guys go putting in this and that law for someone that comes here once in a life time or once a year  think about those that you will effect that has to live here all there life. Its about time you all think about the people of this country before you go doing this and that to accomodate other people that doesnt. 

  7. Seriously says:

    Someone mentioned "tourism product".  Do they mean 7MB?  The beach that you can’t see until you get to Public Beach andthen can’t see again until you get past West Bay’s 4-way stop due to all the high risers?  That one?  Right.  Yeah I agree, lets protect that tourism product.  Oh too late! 

    So here’s a thought, bearing in mind that logic dictates this statement and Cayman is not the most logical of Islands, why don’t they put a roundabout at The Strand with pedestrian crossing areas.  This could also be done at the proposed Raleigh roundabout.  This would allow pedestrians to cross the road at the roundabout rather than 10m down.  They have a perfectly good example about 1.5km down the road where Agape (sp?) is (old Cafe Med).  Pedestrians can cross the road without the worry of being knocked over as they have clearly marked pedestrian crossings and traffic is slowing anyway. 

    As for the thought of lowering the speed limit – once again great logic there.  I predict that all that will happen are the idjits on the road will overtake at 40mph instead of 50mph.  Congratulations, nothing accomplished except irate drivers all round.  Put a roundabout there and things will slow naturally, especially as people don’t know the first thing re the rules of the road when approaching one. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    WB Rd should be reduced to a strictly enforced 25MPH. No truck traffic except for local deliveries. Provide frequent pedestrian crossings with lights. No U-turns, make use of the roundabouts properly. Traffic cameras and permanent radar speed displays to remind drivers how fast they are really going.

    Even the tour buses that are going to the Governor’s house,Tiki Beach, Public Beach or WeBay should be using the bypass,with all the development there is nothing attractive to see along WB Rd anymore.

    Yes the bypass could be extended to Batabano Rd once the country has some money.

    Proper lighting and a pedestrian crosswalk should be put across the bypass at the Dart Blvrd/Camana Bay intersection. there is no lighting there at all now. I sell SOLAR Parking lot and street lighting, which would be perfect there, as well as at all the new pedestrian crossings which are needed on WB Rd.

    I agree that the RCIPS need to train their officers on proper driving habits and then they could start to lead by example, the vast majority of Government owned vehicles are driven without regard for the rules of the road, proper use of indicators, not texting or talking on the cell phone while driving etc.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yet PPM and their confused followers say UDP not doing a thing!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Our one and only Arden took care of our roads. The least of our problems that need attention is not roads. It is crime, and the crime stems from poverty. Caymanians cannot get jobs without jobs there is no food to eat etc, then people will steal and worst it will perhaps get if government starts to bring in more workers from Honduras. A Country cant strive with an overpopulated poor people.Lets forget about more round abouts and deal with the big issues. Lets get some half way homes for those coming out of prison and try to rehabilitate our youth back into society.

  10. Macman says:

    A simple solution would be to strategically place islands along the centre of the road so that the center lane could not be used as a "fast lane".

    These islands would have railings with a gap in them for pedestrians so that they would provide a central safe area for pedestrians to cross, the railings could be set so as to force the pedestrian to face oncoming traffic so they would naturally see any danger approaching.
    There would be adequate gaps to allow right turning into shopping malls or condos where it was feasible. Where it would not be safe make the traffic turn left so that they could then do a "U" turn at the nearest roundabout of safe point.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cheaper solution = Speed Bumps

      • Here is a thought says:

         Let’s follow the safety rules that many countries are adopting and also forbid PHONE USE and TEXTING while driving!!!  I cannot drive anywhere without seeing people with a phone stuck to the ear or fiddling with a text on their lap…(let me hope that is what they are doing while driving and looking down at their crotch, then up again)

        Come on people, hang up the phone when you are driving!!!  Darn blackberry/iPhone addiction will be the end of us all.

         

         

        • john say what says:

          should the police not being setting an example for us they are the biggest culprits

    • Anonymous says:

      When you slow for the inconsiderate omnibus driver, the tailgating guy behind you is going to plow into your rear seat because they’ll have nowhere else to go.

      The middle lane is for turning, merging AND ACCIDENT AVOIDANCE!

    • da-wa-u-get! says:

      Sorry Macman,

      Islands in the Centre lane? we had that already! they had to be removed because they were a traffic hazard. The supposed "cure" (to using the center lane for the wrong reason) became worse than the "disease" because people were trying to overtake before they got to the next "Island"

      Irresponsible driving cannot be cured with unenforced traffic rules. In my opinion we need better driver training for many, fair but strict enforcement of the traffic rules and penalties that makes one think twice before breaking the rules.

      I support a speed limit reduction to 30 mph on West Bay road from the end of the 25mph zone (by the Wharf Restaurant) to where the Bypass now joins in (by the closed Marriott Courtyard) This would give a (relatively) High speed link for commuters in transit via the Bypass. (That option must exist, because every one is in a hurry, denying that fact would only prevent practical solutions from being adopted)

      It is not only the reduction of speed that should be pursued, it is the reduction of impediments to efficient transit that need to be addressed. Let me list a few: Drivers holding on the left side of the lane to turn right, Mini Buses not pulling to the side to take on or discharge passengers, vehicles parking too far into the road, too many drivers talking on phones, too many not paying attention at traffic lights (either runningred lights or sitting there for a long time when it is green) Taxi’s and buses on Island-tours driving slow but not allowing traffic behind to pass them. Drivers texting, reading, applying make-up, eating, having children standing in the car or sitting on drivers lap. Some drivers also need to learn that the Yield/Give way sign is not a stop sign!

      In other words there are all kinds of reckless driving which need to be eliminated and once again we need to look toward those that are charged with enforcing traffic regulations, to do their job, but do it fairly, consistently and professionally. After all, the driver that is frustrating my progress behind them at 15mph for half of my journey is just as guilty as I am when I exceed the speed limit on the second half, but it seems those impediments are never addressed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Regrettably, like many others on this thread, you assume that foreign pedestrians have never crossed a road before and that is simply not the case. 

      Visitors and new residents honestly forget to look in the opposite direction and need a subtle and timely reminder before they step off the curb into danger.  Enter spray paint and a stencil pad!

      Changing the speed limit, adding speed bumps, or extending the bypass, or planting trees (?) will not remind the forgetful tourist to look in the correct direction before they step off the curb! 

  11. Right ya so says:

    I agree – SMB traffic can be slowed to 25mph but as so many ppl have pointed out – it’s not the limit it’s the drivers (and this includes the RCIP)!! Never in my life have I seen such bad driving as we have now.

    On the way into work on Shamrock the other morning some woman pulled over to the median in the middle of 8am traffic to stop and have a conversation with someone who ran over from Hurley’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  and everyone on the road had to swerve across with the outer lane traffic ending up driving on the gravel on the side of the road. When I honked at her she started cussing at me!! I couldn’t believe it! Could you imagine stopping dead on a major highway in either the US or Europe? Didn’t think so…

    I’ve had people stop going round the King’s Gym roundabout, not pullingover, just stopping right in the lane to let someone out.  I’ve seen them stop on the SMB bypass by the Hyatt to either pick someone up or drop them off – IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!!!

    And why do ppl think THEY can park on the yellow lines outside the Grand Harbour pharmacy, supermarket and video store (particularly inconsiderate and dangerous is parking directly in front ofthe pharmacy as I’ve seen many a car pull in and nearly hit the car that’s ILLEGALLY parked)?  I don’t get it – why do they think that THEY should be exempt?? It’s only a few more paces to park legally.. we can’t all be that lazy – no wonder our children have no respect for either their elders or authority – their parents are teaching by example..

    And never mind the omnibus drivers & taxi’s either driving too fast or too slow and then using the turning lane to overtake or to stop and let a passenger off.!

    The list is endless – using the wrong lane on the roundabout, crossing lanes just as you enter the roundabout w/o looking to see if there is a car behind you, not indicating, because as someone said to me "why should I indicate, I know where I’m going’!.

    The police are as bad – they never indicate, they cross lanes all the time, use the wrong lanes on the roadabout, don’t know what a dble yellow line means, pull over w/o indicating, chat on their cell  phones whilst driving – if they don’t know what to do how can you expect the general populus to know?

    There’s just a general lack of consideration, awareness and education which, I’m sorry to say, reducing the speed limit on the SMB stretch will not fix!

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Add to that — the round-about by Hurley’s is incorrectly set up.

      Drivers, coming from the East, that have veered off the road to head down South Sound Rd. should have the right away and those coming off the Circle should yield. It is the drivers that head to the circle and then cut down that slows all the drivers and causes the backup. 

      At least have a police officer directing traffic during high congestion times to help the flow the traffic.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately, you can’t have an exit from a roundabout yield to another lane, because then traffic could potentially build up on the roundabout itself. Exits always have to have the right of way to ensure smooth flow of traffic(and avoid accidents) on the roundabout itself. I fully get your point, this pisses me off too when I’m sitting patiently (okay maybe not always that patiently) in traffic in the left lane to come into town in the morning, but no can do.

        • Anonymous says:

          There is plenty of room, once through the exit, for the one or two cars that actually make it all the way around the circle to hold up for a minute so they can merge with the other traffic.

          The issue is the a-holes that go to the circle and use it to avoid what has built up due to the 20 other a-holes that did the same thing and causing the traffic flow issue.

          Hence — since it is congested at that time anyway — have an officer directing the traffic.

          Otherwise put in a 4 way traffic stop with red lights.

    • Anonymouse says:

      And never mind the omnibus drivers & taxi’s either driving too fast or too slow and then using the turning lane to overtake or to stop and let a passenger off.!

      Can’t speak for the taxi drivers but as a public bus user I can tell you that whilst you are complaining about buses driving into turning lanes and hard shoulders to drop passengers off, thats possibly because there a little to no bus stops and I dread to think how much you’d complain if they just stopped right there in the middle of the road in front of you.  What do you expect them to do when a passenger wishes to get off – hover in mid air?

  12. Anonymous says:

    the bypass to West Bay should be completed too which would help alleviate 7 mile traffic period

    • Green Flash says:

      Can we also install a permanent police check at the top of the bypass and make it the only way into the source of all our crime problems?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ms. Juliana, I’m not sure how many places in the world you have travel but from the time I came here to this Island I have always consider the West Bay road as a high way and honestly I have never seen a high way no where in the world that I  have travel and thats many places with the speed limit of 30mph . I as and American have to say that the Tourist that comes here honestly feels that they can run/walk rite out in front of people and honestly they wouldnt try thiscrap where they are coming from . 

    • Anonymous says:

      Highways don’t have entrance/exits to shopping centers, restaurants, and hotels on them — they have exit ramps!

      West Bay Rd. is not a highway.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        Once a road consist of 3 to 4 lanes and up, with the speed limit of 40-50 and over, it’s an highway, when I’m in Miami I like to drive on the lower highways rather than the over head highways, because it’s a less chance that I miss the road that I need to turn on to and plus people drive nuts on those over head highways. It’s the same with 7MB road, either you want to take the lower highhway or the By Pass, which is again another highway but without the heavy traffic congestion all the time.

  14. Anonymous says:

    They just need to use the golden rule of looking both ways before crossing a street! A majority of the foreignors that come here should be used to crossing six lanes of traffic with all cars going at 60+ mph. I know I had to get used to that when I lived in Florida! Even if the speed limit is 30 mph along West Bay Road and the person only decides to look in one direction then walk- they are probably very likely to still get a pretty bad injury if they get smacked by a car. If a bicycle hits you at 30 it’ll still hurt! Also, the newly painted white arrows on the road to show which side you are supposed to be driving on may help some but a majority of tourist accidently drive on the wrong side not because they dont know which side they are supposed to be on its just a matter of habit. They are used to driving on one side then they have to automatically switch when they come here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Painting traffic flow arrows in tourist areas would be an easy and cost-effective initial safety measure.  We do drive on the opposite side of what many visitors (and new residents) are accustomed to. 

      The Strand tenants should pay for installation and upkeep of their own crosswalks, similarly other businesses and restaurants reaping the rewards of foot traffic. 

      I am franky embaressed for the private sector who neglect to show interest in the safety of their customers.  They are the ones that should be proactive in this area.

      • Anonymous says:

        Painting traffic flow arrows on all roads leading up to roundabouts with signage telling vehicles to ‘Get In Lane’ would also be invaluable in a country where drivers seem oblivious to common sense and the highway code.  Might stop all those lunatics getting in the wrong lanes and/or swapping lanes in roundabouts to finally realise what lane they should be in!  Why do so many people get in the left lane to turn right?  Perfect example, the roundabout at Hurleys and the roundabout by the bypass and Shamrock Road near Prospect – appalling examples of driving to be found here every day.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’d throw in a request for more trees to make the sidewalks shady for walking. This will make the road much more pedestrian friendly. Those areas where there are no cement sidewalks could be ‘upgraded’ with mowed verges for walking on helping to pretty up the place. Grass under native trees, how attractive would that be for a resident or tourist to walk on. (Yes, this is a long term plan.)

  16. ditto says:

    leave it to government to try and "improve" safety in such a way that it makes little sense. oh and, while your at it, maybe teach the police officers how to drive a bit better too because my gosh….have I seen some things. you would think some of them are tourists the way they navigate these roads.

  17. what!? says:

    Reduce speed limits? Any reduction would keep us near a stand-still! This isn’t the answer. The other poster is correct in saying that the issue is the way in which people drive. I lived in Miami for 6 years and can honestly say that the drivers up there (if even possible) are worse than here, and the issue is the lack of common sense/ road sense. Two words….driver’s ed.

  18. An opportunity says:

    This review has the opportunity to transform West Bay Road into something beautiful, instead of a major highway. With the distributor road (Esterly Tibbetts) now complete bold steps can be taken to ensure that West Bay Road is used for access to the shops, restaurants and condo’s on it (except for taxis and buses), with all other traffic channelled along Esterley Tibbetts. The change could be phenomenal – think of the Dart boulevard from West Bay Road to Camana Bay, with vegetation, wide sidewalks, cycle lanes, and limited traffic. Businesses that might initially complain about the loss of business will soon find that increased tourist traffic, and a more pleasant environment will drive trade (especially on foot). It only takes a small increase in tourism numbers, driven by a more pleasant Seven Mile Beach to offset the costs of implementation. Hey, businesses might even pay for the priviledge of a greener, quieter ‘boulevard’ style location.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I agree the West Bay road from the Wharf up to the Tiki Bar should be 30mph as it is our main tourist pedestrian area…if u think its too slow for those in a rush take the bybass and do 40mph..its a no brainer. At night the lighting on that stretch of road is very poor and i have witnessed many near collisions with pedestrians and actual accidents on the said stretch……..

    • Anonymous says:

      As a tourist who has driven on your roads during my many visits I agree that lowering the speed is not the  answer. How slow can one go? I also do not think another round-a-bout is the answer (and I am used to driving around what we call "rotaries"). I believe the solution is more lighting and cutting out the middle lane in certain areas( or having that middle lane as a spot where people crossing can stop while crossing). Crosswalks are only helpful if used and alot of people will still dart across where they want. West Bay Road is dark in a lot of spots and it is hard to see pedestrians until the last minute.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It’s not the speed limit on West Bay Road that is the problem, it is the drivers (including minibus and taxi operators) who use the middle lane as an overtaking lane.  Lowering the speed limit will not make people comply, it will just cause more frustration resulting in people being caught for speeding that aren’t really speeding.  It’s like that foolish 25mph limit on the new highway past A.L. Thompson.  Two lanes of traffic and the limit is 25 mph.  It’s ridiculous.  Perhaps smart cameras with set parameters monitoring roadways which triggers an alarm at a monitoring station would be a better option.

  21. Bobby Anonymous says:

    Let’s see now. Tikki Bar…..Main road…..Car park?? Now theres some bright planning for you!

  22. peter milburn says:

    If you are in a rush as so many people are these days USE THE BYPASS thats what its for with the higher speed limit..We have to protect our tourism product and this will help initially but I do agree that the drivers are the main problem here especially SOME of the taxi bus drivers.who think they own the middle lane.

  23. Anonymous says:

    How much slower can one drive?  It’s not the speed limits that are a problem, it’s the drivers that can’t drive!!!

    When you have drivers going round the wrong way on a roundabout, and stopping at the roundabout instead of giving way, and people not using their indicators! thats where the problem is.

    Ped-X crossings, definitely!  Reducing the speed limit NO!

     

     

    • daily driver says:

         Your right!  I used to live on seven mile beach and cross the sidewalk daily.  I would say that 1 in 50 drivers would completely disregard the red light and some would even honk for you to get out of their way!  Too many people on Cayman have NO regard for  the rules of the road and the safety of others.  Unfortunately so does the Government of the day. Instead of useing the laws to get bad drivers off the roads they will just throw more money that they don’t have at it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lit pedestrian crossings (with flashing lights) should be located at a few intervals along West Bay Road and in downtown George Town.  This will cause natural breaks in traffic and hopefully curtail the "threashold braking to let someone in" behavior of the island’s many novice drivers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Here is a study done by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Highway Safety Research Center for Florida Department of Transportation on a Pedestrian Crosswalk Warning System.  There are some interesting data about motorist response to pedestrian cross walks (many don’t stop, even when it’s flashing), as well as data on whether pedestrians will bother to use the systems (43% will cross outside the flashing crosswalk if it is not the most direct route), as well as data on pedestrian/vehicle conflicts: 

        http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/ped_bike/brochures/pdf/lgresrch.pdf

  24. Anonymous says:

    Were charges ever filed against the driver who hit the tourist crossing the street near the Strand?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m patiently waiting to hear a response back to this person’s question.

      • Anonymous says:

        and what about the person (drunk?) that hit the Phillipino lady, that our great system then shipped off to die in Hondouras (probably on a park bench!) Did this person even get aslap on the wrist for drunk driving? Does anybody care?